Hit by fleeing car, dragged 120m
The stolen car came up on them like a freight train, dragged them 120 metres up a Levin street like a toy and spun them backwards.
Now a Porirua couple want to know how a police pursuit that wrote off their car and left them terrified was allowed to happen.
Kevin and Carolyn Higgs were in the front seats of their Honda CRV when a stolen car blasted through red traffic lights on Oxford St in Levin shortly before 9pm on Saturday night, slamming into them.
They say police, hot in pursuit, simply drove past their damaged vehicle.
Police say the pursuit probably prevented an even more serious crash from happening.
Carolyn Higgs said the car, driven by her husband, turned on to Oxford St from Queen St West about 8.50pm. Her brother Robert Gaylard, of Levin, was in the back seat.
‘‘I turned round and I said to Kev, ‘I can hear a freight train coming’. And the next minute we were slammed into.’’
They had been hit by a Holden four by four, stolen from Wainuiomata then tracked by police as it drove north. The pursuit started on the Ka¯piti Coast.
The impact was so heavy it spun the Higgs’ CRV like a toy and dragged it about 120m up the road to the intersection at Stanley St.
‘‘I said to Kev, ‘what the f... is happening’, and he says ‘I don’t know’. Then all I remember is 50 million bloody cop cars screaming past us.’’
Kevin Higgs said he felt the impact then ‘‘saw grey’’. The grey was the roof of his car - the impact broke his seat and he was left dazed and staring up at the roof interior.
In the back, Gaylard was left with whiplash. His glasses were found later by his niece on Oxford St. Kevin Higgs said he was breath tested by police at the scene.
The car’s occupants want to know why police never stopped to help, and why the chase was even allowed to reach central Levin. Witnesses estimated the stolen vehicle was travelling over 100kmh in a 50kmh zone on Oxford St, they said.
The three teenage occupants of the stolen car were caught when the spiked vehicle hit a police car at low speed at the northern end of Oxford St.
Carolyn Higgs said she did not necessarily think police should have abandoned the pursuit, but given the length of the chase they should have stopped the car on the open road before it reached Levin.
Inspector Paul Jermy said the fleeing car was stolen from Moores Valley Rd in Wainuiomata shortly before 6pm.
Public safety was the priority for officers, with ‘‘very careful’’ consideration given to when and where they deploy road spikes, he said.
‘‘With the information in front of us, police are confident the actions of its staff ... prevented a more serious crash.’’
A local sergeant, not involved in the pursuit, was immediately sent to attend the separate crash, Jermy said.
‘‘We wish to reassure the people in the other vehicle that police were fully aware that they had become victims and that police responded accordingly.’’
Kevin Higgs, wife Carolyn Higgs and her brother Robert Gaylard, who survived a collision with a stolen car being chased by police. Above, their damaged Honda.